Innsbruck in One Day: Your Ultimate Adventure Awaits!

Is it even possible to see the awestruck alpine town of Innsbruck in one day?

Yes, it is!

Innsbruck, the charming capital of the Austrian state of Tyrol, is a city that effortlessly climbs to the top of beautiful alpine towns worth visiting.

Nestled amidst snow-capped mountains and adorned with stunning architecture, Innsbruck offers much to see and do even if you only have one day to spare.

From its world-class museums and imperial palaces to its vibrant Old Town and outdoor adventures, I will share how to plan a day trip to Innsbruck where you will spend an unforgettable one day in Innsbruck.

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Is a Day Trip to Innsbruck Worth it?

building with golden roof with mountains in innsbruck in one day

If you are wondering if is Innsbruck worth visiting“, even for just a day, it most definitely is. Innsbruck is the kind of destination that leaves you speechless.

All around, towering over you, are the mountains. The jagged rock spires of the Nordkette range are incredibly majestic and are the backdrop for this beautiful alpine town.

Innsbruck, the capital city of the Tyrol, or Tirol region, is known as the capital of the Alps.

Being surrounded by ski slopes during the winter and mountainous hiking trails during the summer makes this a bucket list destination for any adventurous traveller.

What is Innsbruck famous for? The Olympics!

There are only three places that have held the honour of hosting the Olympics more than once, and Innsbruck is one of them. They hosted 2 Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976. And that is what has put them on the world stage as a sought-after destination.

Not that adventurous? No problem, this town has enough charm and tourist attractions to capture anyone’s interest.

And, since it lies very close to the border of Germany, this is a popular day trip from either country. That is how I came to see it.

I spent two weeks driving from one end of the Alpine Road in Germany to the other. Starting in Berchtesgaden, where I took a day trip to Salzburg, another Austrian town worth visiting and ending in Lake Constance Germany.

It was in the middle of my trip, staying in the amazing Garmisch Partenkirchen in Germany, that I decided to spend a day in Innsbruck. Garmisch to Innsbruck is just under an hour.

So I too, had to plan what to do in Innsbruck for a day.

Innsbruck in One Day Ititnerary

1. Start at Triumphpfort

large arch structure for cars to drive through in innsbruck in one day

There’s no better way to start your Innsbruck in a day adventure than at the Triumphal Arch.

What a view!

I walked through the archway and got my first glimpse of the city with the mountains in the background. The building of the Triumphal Arch was in celebration of Emperor Leopold I and Empress Maria Theresa’s engagement in 1765.

I continued through the Truimphal on Maria Theresien Strasse, a notable street in Innsbruck, gazing upon the well-preserved century buildings on either side. This lively street that features some of Innsbruck’s best shopping.

Walk until you reach Annasaule, a column from 1703 of red marble. Now you’ve reached the start of Old Town.

Let’s explore the heart of Innsbruck.

2. Wander Altstadt Innsbruck

colourful buildings with mountains in innsbruck one day

Now it’s time to explore the Altstadt, or Old Town. It’s chock-full of 13th to 14th-century Baroque and Gothic architecture.

All of these beautiful buildings house museums, galleries, shops, and restaurants. The colourful buildings in the Old Town are decorated with murals and intricate metal signs hanging above the shop doors to indicate what lies inside.

Strolling through these attractive little streets was one of my favourite things to do in Innsbruck.

Surprisingly, Old Town is not designated as a UNESCO protected site in Austria, yet!

Stop at an Austrian coffee house, like Cafe Katzung or Kröll Strudel Café to enjoy a delicious pastry and strong coffee as you watch people watch. This was a highlight for me.

3. Visit the Notable Buildings of Altstadt Innsbruck

tower with orange building on day trip to innsbruck

Several must-see buildings in Altstadt caught my eye.

  • Golden Roof, or Goldenes Dachl. Of all the places to visit in Innsbruck in 1 day, this is it! It’s the city’s most popular landmark. What makes it so unique is that the tiny balcony, used as a royal box, is adorned with 2,657 gilt copper tiles. On a sunny day, this balcony glistens in the sun.
  • City Tower or Stadtturm. This medieval structure is from the 1400s. For many centuries it was used as a prison, today it serves as a watchtower with spiral stairs leading to incredible views of the city. and stands out from the other buildings due to its bright orangey-red walls of the historic Town Hall. Cost: 4.50€
  • Helbling Haus. One of the prettiest buildings in Old Town is Helbling Haus. This impressive building is one of Innsbruck’s finest and most elaborate Baroque buildings.
white building with pink details in 1 day in Innsbruck Altstadt
  • Hofkirche or Court Church. The Gothic Church from 1553 is a must-see as part of your Innsbruck itinerary 1 day adventure. The interior is the real showstopper, full of beautiful Renaissance and Gothic details. It’s also where you will find Maximilian’s impressive tomb lined with 28 bronze life-size figures. Cost: 8€
  • Hofburg or Imperial Palace. This palace is considered one of the top culturally significant buildings in Austria, making it one of the top places to visit in Innsbruck in a 1-day itinerary. Cost: 9.50€
  • Innsbruck Cathedral or Dom Zu St. Jacob. This 1700s church was named after St James. This large cathedral features 57 bells and a fresco ceiling depicting the life of the apostle James.
  • Tyrolean Folk Museum. An arts and cultural museum which includes an armoury exhibit (free to enter). Cost: receive a 50% price reduction with a Hofkirche ticket

4. Lunch in Altstadt Innsbruck

buildings against mountains in one day in innsbruck

While you’re spending time in Old Town, this is the perfect spot to try another restaurant for lunch. I have a couple of recommendations for you:

  • Cafe Munding – housed in a Baroque building from 1720 – go to the back, past the coffee house to enjoy a typical Tyrolean meal
  • Weisses Rossl – enjoy a traditional Tyrolean meal on their elevated terrace or inside in their cozy traditional dining room
  • Markthalle – a large food hall along the Inn River where you can choose from a wide selection of vendors. It’s a casual hang-out spot for locals, even pop-up beer vendors appear outside in the warmer months

5. Admire the Pretty River Houses

colourful houses on bank of river with mountains in innsbruck a must visit for one day in innsbruck

What to see in Innsbruck in 1 day? You can’t miss the colourful houses along River Inn, or Inns.

Walk along the bridge running over the fast-flowing river, and maybe even leave a love lock.

You can’t help but not take a picture postcard photo in this popular location. It’s a backdrop that is hard to beat!

6. Stroll Innsbrucker Hofgarten or Innsbruck’s Court Garden

mountains with green trees on day trip Innsbruck

Now it’s time to walk off your hearty Tyrolean lunch with a stroll through Innsbrucker Hofgarten, the city’s public garden and park.

If visiting Innsbruck in the spring as I did, be sure to go here. The gardens are bursting with colour with pretty springtime flowers.

It’s also the place to catch the Hungerburgban Funicular to venture up to Nordkette. Your next activity.

7. Go to the Top of Innsbruck

top of Innsbruck mountain with clouds on day trip to innsbruck

What to see in Innsbruck in one day is at the top!

Yes, even visiting Innsbruck in one day means you get to visit the Alps right from the centre of town. How cool is that? So, here’s how it works.

The Nordkettenbahn, features three separate sections:

  1. Innsbruck Congress Station to Hungerburg via funicular reaching 1,837 ft above sea level
  2. Hungerburg to the Seegrube station via cable car reaching 6,250 ft above sea level
  3. Seegrube station to Hafelekar via another cable car reaching 7,401 ft above sea level

1 day in Innsbruck, you’re going to want to save time where you can. That’s why I recommend pre-booking your tickets. Choose from: Innsbruck Congress Station to Hungerburg OR Seegrube station to Hafelekar

Of all the things to do in your Innsbruck one day itinerary, don’t skip this! The views from the Top of Innsbruck will leave you awestruck!

8. Choose your Next Adventure

white castle on top of hill in innsbruck one day
Ambras Castle

For your late afternoon activity, the choice is yours! Here are 4 recommended Innsbruck things to do to.

Choose from these Innsbruck places to visit:

  • History Lovers. Visit the medieval Ambras Castle from 1565, which was once the residence of Archduke Ferdinand
  • Art & Cultural Lovers. Visit Kristallwelten or Swarovski Crystal World, a museum and art gallery designed to showcase the world-famous Swarovski crystal. The most impressive displays include the Crystal Dome, Crystal Theatre, and Crystal Forest. As well, the exterior garden features the Giant, a large landscaped waterfall in the shape of a human
  • Animal Lovers. Visit Europe’s highest-elevation zoo that can only be reached by funicular as part of the first stage of the Top of Innsbruck visit (see #6). The zoo animals are ones that you would only find within the Alp region
  • Adventure Lovers. Visit Innsbruck Bergiselschanze or Bergisel Ski Jump. Take the funicular or stairs to the top of the ski jumping hill which offers another view, although not quite as spectacular as the Top of Innsbruck. Cost: 9€
green hill with grass and fountain one day in innsbruck

Another time saving hack is pre-booking your choosen adventure, will it be the Ambras Castle OR Swarovksi Crystal World OR Alpine Zoo?

9. End your Innsbruck 1 day Iitinerary

Your one day in Innsbruck is not over yet! Stay a little longer and enjoy a meal and experience the city at nighttime.

Your Innsbruck in one day itinerary can include some of these suggestions:

  • Best Restaurants for DinnerLudwig (for the best burgers in Innsbruck), Die Wilderin (for the best seasonal and sustainable menu in Innsbruck), Oniriq (one of the best fine dining restaurants in Innsbruck) or Gasthof Goldener Adler (for the best local specialties in an elegant, historic building)
  • Best Tyrolean Evening Experience – Enjoy traditional Austrian folk music, “shoe-slapping” dance and yodelling over a 3-course meal. The Gundolf Family has been entertaining guests since 1967. Reserve this fun experience and top-rated activity is a fun night out in Innsbruck.
  • Best Cocktail Bars – Liquid Diary (Adolf-Pichler-Platz 2), M + M Bar (Innstraße 45), Dunlin Bar (Meraner Str. 6)
  • Casino Innsbruck – enjoy a fun night at the casino – with dinner, entertainment and games (Salurner Str. 15)

FAQs About Innsbruck

How did Innsbruck get its name?

Innsbruck got its name from the river Inn that flows through the city. When translated into English, Innsbruck means the bridge over the inn. As far back as the 1100s, there was a bridge that was built over the Inn River. Today, there are 12 bridges in Innsbruck, with the most popular being Innbrücke.

How do you get to Innsbruck?

Getting to Innsbruck is easiest by train. The city of Innsbruck is well connected to other European countries like Munich, Germany, Salzburg, Vienna, and Verona, Italy. The train station is a short walk to the city centre of Maria Theresien Strasse.

How do you get around Innsbruck?

Innsbruck is a small, compact, walkable city making it easy to visit Innsbruck in one day. A fun way for Innsbruck sightseeing is to take the cable car called Hungerburgbahn which it takes you through the city centre and over the bridge crossing River Inn.

What should you not miss in Innsbruck?

The unmissable things to do in your one day in Innsbruck
1. Altstadt
2. Hofburg and Hofkirche
3. Cable car to the Top of Innsbruck
4. Golden Roof
5. Coffee house for apple strudel or sacher torte

What are some tips for visiting Innsbruck?

If you are planning one day in Innsbruck, make the most of your time by booking entrance tickets in advance to avoid any long lines. That includes making lunch and dinner reservations for the restaurants of your choice. Wear comfortable shoes and don’t forget your camera!

What is the best time to visit Innsbruck?

Innsbruck can be enjoyed in every season. However, the most popular time to visit Innsbruck is winter, followed by summer. Springtime is pretty too with a abundance of spring flowers.

What are the things to do in Innsbruck in the winter?

The top things to do in Innsbruck in the winter include:
1. Axamer Lizum, just 20 km from the city centre offers a snow park and race park
2. Patscherkofel, a former Olympic venue, features a Children’s World and a snow park for freestylers
3. Cross-country skiing locations are Glungezer, Kalte Kuchl, Schartenkogel, and Halsmarter
4. Igls Bobsleigh Centre where you can try luge, skeleton, and bobsleigh runs
5. Bergisel Ski Jump which towers over the city on the lush Bergisel Hill
6. Take a scenic cable car ride- there are a series of 4 starting at the Hungerburg
7. Funicular and ends with the Hafelekar Peak offering the highest viewing point and incredible panoramic views.    
8. Visit Olympia SkiWorld collective where you can ski the Alps, ski jump 

How to travel from Salzburg to Innsbruck?

You can travel from Salzburg to Innsbruck by train or car. The Salzburg to Innsbruck train journey is scenic and takes little less than 2 hours, while driving takes a little more than 2 hours.

How to travel from Munich to Innsbruck?

You can travel from Munich to Innsbruck by train or car. The Munich to Innsbruck train journey takes approximately an hour and 45 minutes, whereas driving takes around 2 hours.

As a Holidaymaker

This 1-day itinerary for Innsbruck will have you visit all the “must” sites.

It offers a balance between sightseeing in the charming Old Town with a little adventure. Going to the Top of Innsbruck you will be awestruck by its scenic views, don’t miss that!

I hope you have the opportunity to spend one day in Innsbruck just as I have done.

To help with your trip planning to Austria, find out the resources I use and recommend. And, if you are wanting to add Germany to your itinerary, I will leave you with my Travel Guide to Germany where you will have access to my all of my adventures.

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